Grow Your Marketing Investment with Superior Media Analytics

Of all the ways to collect competitive data, our network of successful attorneys consistently relies on competitive market analyses and media audits to identify valuable information and to make effective budget decisions.

These proven approaches are essential to any legal practice, but especially critical to:

  • Longtime advertisers facing new competition
  • Young attorneys or new law firms looking to break into a market
  • All firms seeking greater Share of Voice (SOV)

But what are market analyses and media audits, exactly? How do you know if your law firm needs one?

What Is a Competitive Market Analysis?

competitive market analysis provides a clear overview of the legal advertising activity happening within a designated market area (DMA) — both yours and your competitors’.

Among other things, a market analysis will reveal:

  • Share of Voice (SOV) for all legal advertisers in a market
  • Market shifts and new entrants to the legal vertical
  • Who the top spenders are
  • How much they spend per month and per year
  • Where they’re placing ads
  • What their creative looks like and what their messaging sounds like

The very fact that this competitive information is available comes as a huge surprise to many lawyers who aren’t familiar with top marketing resources such as Nielsen TV and Audio Ratings, Strata Analytics, and Kantar Media—the world’s largest data, insights, and consulting company.

Each of these marketing resources requires a significant capital investment—one that rarely makes sense for a law firm to make. Thankfully, our client roster enjoys access to these powerful tools via the Network, which includes the expert analysis of a dedicated account manager and a team of experienced media planners and buyers.

If you’re a current advertiser, the “competitive” part of a competitive marketing analysis will also reveal:

  • How much you’re spending relative to competitors
  • How your creative, messaging, and branding differ from competitors
  • Where your advertising overlaps with competitors; and much more

Side note: so far, we’ve only talked about television, but it’s also valuable to perform a competitive market analysis on digital properties (e.g. website, social media, PPC, etc.) to see how your brand compares online. 

What Is a Media Audit?

media audit is a comprehensive analysis of an entire advertising campaign. For example, a media audit might ask:

  • Are there television programs or dayparts that would be a better fit for your strategy (i.e. produce better results)?
  • Are you running spots of different lengths? Is there a better combination of five, 10, 15, 30, and 60-second spots that would improve your reach, frequency, and ROI?
  • Did the station deliver what you paid for? Did the programming deliver the ratings negotiated?

The information discovered in these audits has helped many law firms realize real savings or turn the tide in a competitive market. What’s more, a media audit can be performed again and again to optimize results and increase your return on investment.

Television advertising dollars are finite. A media audit can help you make sure you’re investing each dollar in the most efficient way.

More importantly, there’s an art to media audits, and not everyone approaches them the same way.

Information is your best investment tool in an increasingly competitive legal landscape.

But if you’re doing it right, attorney marketing is about making strategic investment decisions based on data and reliable analysis. You too can grow your marketing investment with superior media analytics.  

Network Affiliates is an attorney marketing agency headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado. For nearly 40 years, we’ve been providing exclusive media partnerships and superior marketing services to elite attorneys around the world.

To learn more about Network Affiliates or to schedule a free competitive market analysis and/or media audit call 888-461-1016 or fill out this quick contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

 

The 2018 Attorney Television Advertising Checklist

How to Make the Most of Your Legal Marketing Budget in the New Year

As we move into a new year, the legal services market remains one of the top spending areas in the entire advertising industry.

In 2016 alone, law firms and other legal service providers in the United States spent more than $1 billion on marketing and advertising.

One billion dollars!

What a staggering sum. If the attorney world ever feels small, this number illustrates just how expansive and crowded it really is… and just how profitable it is.

Clients and cases are everywhere. Your firm’s goal is to get more of them — or, just as worthwhile, to get better and higher-value cases.

Your challenge, however, is that many other firms exist in your area, and they’re spending toward that same goal.

Who will prospective clients ultimately choose? It’s more important than ever that your law firm’s messaging stand out from the competition.

As a legal TV advertiser, one of your single biggest monthly expenses is your media budget. Is it working hard enough for you? Here’s why it needs to.

Lawyer television advertising grew six times faster than all other industries’ ad spending between 2008 and 2014.

That fact comes directly from the 2015 Trial Lawyer Marketing report, prepared for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, and it’s astounding. The report also projected that attorney TV ad spending would either hold steady or continue to grow despite any political or economic trends.

Sure enough, the report was right. Legal services TV spending kept growing in 2015 and into 2016, even while other reliably big-spend industries (e.g. automotive) cut back.

So what does this all mean? TV advertising is not dead. On the contrary, it remains the single most powerful tool you have for growing your firm.

Still, marketing dollars are finite, and competition is dense. You have to make choices about where and how you’re expending your budget. Accordingly, we present our annual checklist for maximizing both impact and ROI for your attorney television advertising in 2018.

The Checklist

  • Start with a Media Audit. There’s a good chance you may be spending too much money each month… or just spending it in the wrong places. A media audit is an incredibly detailed look at your current performance and, perhaps even more importantly, opens your eyes to opportunities you could be getting from different channels, programs, days of the week, times of day, etc. It’s a worthwhile way of making sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your investment.
  • Focus on creative TV production.Today, the most effective attorney ads look more like short films than television commercials. (See some examples here.) Conventional lawyer ads are passé, and TV viewers simply tune them out. Stated differently, they’re a waste of money. If you haven’t already, 2018 is the time to advance your message and marry it with superior-quality production values. Cinematic visual elements, excellent sound quality, personable voice over, tight editing… all these things matter. And in 2018, they’re more affordable than you might realize.
  • You MUST have a digital marketing strategy to complement your TV ads. Your digital assets (website, social media, PPC campaigns, etc.) will never replace your TV campaigns, nor do they pack quite the same punch. But the internet is simply too important to ignore. A funny thing happens along The Client Journey today… new prospective clients often become leads through your TV ads, but then they visit your website before contacting you. Today’s generation wants that digital reassurance. You need to give it to them by being easy to find online (SEO, content marketing, etc.) and having web content that complements the branding you have on TV. It’s essential.
  • Pinpoint your message – only ask for the cases you really want. You can’t have everything, so don’t ask for everything. Let’s be honest… you don’t want a lot of small, low-value cases, so why would you pitch for them in your ads? Likewise, why shoot for cases that are beyond your resources or reach? Instead, use your marketing to target the types of cases you (A) actually want and (B) can realistically handle well. Those are the cases that will ultimately boost your bottom line and lead to more client referrals in the future.
  • Get out of your own head. When crafting your marketing messages, avoid only emphasizing yourself, your credentials, your experience, or anything “you.” It’s not about you. It’s about your clients. Going into 2018, are your messages currently “you”-oriented or “client”-oriented?
  • Employ the experts. Lawyers are brilliant and highly competent people, but they simply don’t have the time to navigate the extremely complicated and competitive world of television, media buys, digital marketing, graphic design, etc. It is a full-time career all its own. Hire people who have real expertise and who can do what you can’t: devote their full attention to growing your business. Work with an expert legal advertising coach to understand your wisest course of action and investment for 2018.

Don’t Put a Single Penny to Unfruitful Use in 2018. Call the Experts at Network Affiliates.

If you are considering adding a TV advertising strategy to your marketing mix — or if your current approach needs some work — call the legal marketing experts at Network Affiliates today.

Likewise, if you need to supplement your existing campaigns with a highly effective and affordable digital marketing strategy for your law firm, give us a call.

With in-house creative, production, and media planning teams, we can handle all your TV advertising needs from beginning to end. We offer support at every step of the way. Contact us online or call us at (888) 461-1016 now!

A Marketing Lesson Lawyers Can’t Learn Soon Enough

The single biggest mistake lawyers make in their marketing messages is making everything about themselves — their track record, their years in practice, their education, the unique advantages they have over other attorneys, etc.

“What’s wrong with that?” you might ask. Well, nothing, except that these kinds of lawyer-focused messages miss the single most important point when it comes to messaging: It’s not about you.

It’s about the client.

It’s about their emotions, their financial concerns, recovering from their injuries, their fear of lawyers, and their strong desire to get justice and quickly put this whole mess behind them… that’s what legal marketing is about.

Look at your website and/or television advertising copy. How much of it is I/Us/Our language vs. You/Your/Your family language?

There’s certainly a time and a place for you to outline your impressive track record and the skillset you bring to the table. But that cannot be the focus. If it is, you’re just like every other firm, which means you have no measurable advantage over your competition.

The most effective messaging will speak directly to the prospective client’s emotional plight. It will come from a place of authentic passion.

They need to see and feel that your services are about them and their interests.

The quicker your firm understands this and implements it, the better. Most of your rivals probably haven’t put this insight to work in their own messaging yet (lawyer-focused messaging is still the norm), so there’s an opportunity for you to pull ahead of your competitors — even if they’re outspending you.

Stand Out From Your Competition

It’s human nature to repeat what we see. Our clients are often tempted to repeat the tactics they’ve seen a hundred other attorneys use on the airwaves, and we understand that impulse. Furthermore, “zigging” while others zag can feel almost intimidating.

Once upon a time, you could get some mileage out of conventional tactics like:

  • Dramatized testimonials
  • Flashy settlement figures, dollar sums, and firm statistics
  • “Speed-and-greed” talk
  • Partners huddled in front of a bookcase with the usual “If you’ve been injured…” script

But these tactics do not work anymore, and for several years now, we have been consciously steering our clients away in a much more effective and productive messaging direction.

The legal advertising space is far too crowded for you to risk blending in with the crowd.

Tell a Story

Your messaging needs to be about the people you represent and serve. You must create a story (one worth telling!) and craft your brand narrative around that.

Think outside the box. Grab viewers’ attention. Tap into their emotions first; persuade with pitches later.

We put together a guide to crafting stories that legal clients will respond to. It’s the very process we use when brainstorming a new message or TV campaign for our clients.

Make Better Messaging. Let’s Tell Stories Together.

We can help. Network Affiliates is a legal marketing agency that specializes in creative advertising for attorneys. For more than 35 years, we’ve been putting law firms on the airwaves and, for the last 20 years, bolstering their digital marketing efforts at the same time.

In fact, we made some of the very first legal commercials ever broadcast on U.S. television, and we’ve continued to develop, advance and expand our strategies ever since.

Let us put you on the cutting edge and ahead of your competitors. Give us a call at 877.709.0633 or contact us online today.

ATTN: Legal TV Advertisers, Do You Really Know Your Competition?

We often talk about adopting a mindset of success. It’s probably the single most important step you’ll take in the world of legal advertising and marketing. The most effective legal marketers are those who understand that success is challenging but also entirely attainable.

Inherent in the whole “mindset of success” is having a plan. Once you’ve made the decision to advertise your firm on television and to fund that investment — but before your ad appears on the air — you need to commit yourself to preparation.

You aren’t just running an ad, you see. You’re entering a market. And just as your firm’s founders needed to know a little something about the local law firm scene before hanging their shingle, you need to understand your local/regional television market before putting your own campaign in the mix.

Specifically, you need to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your rival law firms’ television advertising campaigns.

This is where a very calculated and data-driven TV advertising strategy comes into play. You’ll need to dig deep to make a lot of decisions about your campaign. Some questions that we usually start with are:

  • Who are you up against?
  • Who do you need to reach?
  • How much are you prepared to spend?

But before you answer any of those questions, you need to know how your competitors are answering them. We call that Competitive Analysis, and it’s an early and integral part of our approach to any legal advertising campaign.

What is a Competitive Analysis?

A competitive analysis doesn’t need to be more complicated than it sounds. At its core, it simply means informing yourself about your market so that you can make the wisest possible decisions concerning your investment.

Still, asking the right questions can make sure your analysis is getting you where you need to be.

When going to work for our clients, for instance, we always research:

  • Who is your competition?
  • What kind of content are they running?
  • When and where are they airing their campaigns?
  • What is their brand message?
  • How much are they spending?
  • What do their results look like?
  • What will it take for you to “steal” an adequate share of voice (SOV) and compete?

By looking at the spends, placement, and messaging among current advertisers, you can quickly visualize what you’ll need to do to make an impact.

If you go in too soft, you won’t gain enough share of voice (SOV) for your investment to pay off. At the same time, you don’t want to over-invest unnecessarily. Through a careful competitive analysis, you can land in the sweet spot and reap the best results.

The Goal Isn’t to Copy Your Competitors

Studying your competitors’ efforts doesn’t mean replicating them. On the contrary, your goal is to stand out.

Most of today’s law firms are advertising ineffectively. They run self-congratulatory messages that fail to resonate with their target audience. That’s certainly true in the PI market, where injury victims are simply more concerned with their own well-being than with a law firm’s impressive résumé.

Indeed, much of the value in a competitive analysis is learning what not to do. By observing the zig, you’ll learn how best to zag.

How to Do a Competitive Market Analysis

If you’ve generally kept yourself tuned into the local television market, you might already have a sense of how local legal service providers are representing themselves on TV. That’s helpful. But we also like to strive for something more precise than a “general impression” of the competitive landscape.

To get that, we recommend that you:

  • Visit competitors’ websites. (What appeals to you there? What doesn’t?)
  • Find a non-attorney friend who’s willing to watch a few commercials (yours and your competitors) and share their honest impressions.
  • Create a notes document on your smartphone. Anytime you see an ad or a marketing maneuver you think reflects well on your competitor, make a quick note of it.
  • The next time you gather feedback from a client, ask about their experiences with other law firms in the area.
  • Become a customer! Submit a question and find out just how quickly and effectively the competition responds to their prospective clients. What kind of follow-up do they provide?
  • Ask yourself whether your competitors are following our advice in this article. Based on their successes and/or shortcomings, do you have an opportunity to outshine them?

Let Network Affiliates Size Up Your Competition

Advertising is all about connecting with your audience in a more effective way than your competitors. We can help you meet that goal. Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing strategists with years of deep experience, and we are absolutely committed to putting our clients on top. We do it everyday.

Learn more about how we can help. Call (888) 461-1016 or contact us online today.

Make Your Law Firm’s Message Resonate With Victims

Even if you could guarantee that every single person in your city saw your ad ten times a day, it wouldn’t mean a thing if those people didn’t connect to the ad.

When legal ads fail to produce a response, the content itself is usually to blame. Unfortunately, most attorney TV commercials fall into that category today, as television viewers grow increasingly sophisticated, cynical, and frustrated by the constant barrage of legal marketing.

You might think the answer is to avoid the TV market altogether, but the numbers are still overwhelmingly on television’s side. In fact, TV advertising for attorneys has increased by 68% in the last eight years alone.  Why? Because it works!

Television remains the single most effective medium for law firms looking to get bigger and better cases. No other media channel rivals the reach and power of TV. Attorneys who advertise on television are able to influence through sight, sound, motion and emotion. It’s a strong brand impression that can solidify your firm’s place in victims – or future victims – consideration phase. For more on modern consumer habits, read this blog.

With all this in mind, the key to you firm’s success isn’t to shun TV; it’s to master it instead.

Law firm branding that (A) stands out and (B) puts clients first will resonate with viewers. And it will grow the firm.

Of course, creating attorney branding that resonates with injured victims is easier said than done. So how can you connect with injured victims through the small screen in their living rooms?

After more than 35 years in this business, we’re sharing some of our most valuable insights below.

Your Perspective Isn’t Your Client’s Perspective.

Perhaps the hardest thing for attorneys to understand is that even though you and your prospective clients are looking at the same case, they have a completely different view of the situation.

Your view: “I am an experienced and talented professional who is ready and able to fight for the justice you truly deserve.”

Their view: “I’ve gone through something terrible, and now I have to deal with this mess… and find a lawyer to help make it right.”

Most law firms’ messaging comes strictly from the first point of view. That’s why legal ads tend to emphasize the attorney’s education, years of experience, personal background, accolades and success record.

But, as impressive as all that might be to your peers, injured people care more about their injuries than your résumé.

Here’s a different kind of ad. We produced this for one of our clients, and it effectively resonated with its target demographic. You’ll notice that it’s all about the victim, not the lawyer:

Who Is Your Law Firm’s Ambassador?

Think about some of the law firm commercials you’ve recently seen on TV (maybe even some of your own). Who was talking to you from the screen?

Nine times out of ten, it was one of the lawyers in the firm — probably a senior partner, or whoever’s last name is on the shingle. For some firms, that works. But it isn’t the only way.

The question isn’t “Who best represents your firm?”

Rather, it’s “Who best connects with your audience?”

Read: How to Identify a Spokesperson for Your Law Firm’s TV Ads

We tell clients to stop thinking of advertisements as sales pitches and to imagine them as stories instead. Viewers don’t care about sales pitches, but they do invest in stories.

The right person to tell your firm’s story should be credible, believable, natural, and client-oriented. That’s what law firm branding strategy is all about.

Do People Believe You?

Imagine that you’ve been invited to appear as the keynote speaker at a major conference. It’s quite an honor, and you’re very excited. But as you approach the podium, an advisor tells you, “Everyone in the room thinks you’re a liar. Good luck.” How might that change what you say (or the way you say it)?

The scenario’s an extreme one, but it’s helpful for understanding the relationship that most TV viewers have with attorney TV commercials.

Did you know, for instance, that many viewers assume that on-screen client testimonials are actually actors who’ve been paid to pretend they won big money in a settlement?

Even if your testimonials are entirely ethical and honest, if the injured victims at home view them cynically, what good are the ads doing you?

That’s why the goal in branding a law firm should always be to speak directly to viewers in a way they will not only notice but also trust.

Take the Jury Approach.

We give our legal marketing clients simple advice: speak to the public like you’d speak to a jury.

That might sound strange. After all, a TV ad is surely doing something different than an opening argument. Then again, isn’t making an argument what it’s all about?

Much like juries, TV viewers want to be convinced by a compelling argument. And as with juries, the most effective arguments come in the form of real stories, told with real human connection.

Think about all the mistakes most attorney advertisers make… would you ever do these things with a jury?

  • Talking about yourself or your law firm’s credentials instead of your client’s pain and suffering
  • Using a lot of generalizations and promises about how your side is better without getting into why
  • Talking at your audience instead of connecting with them
  • Skimping on evidence
  • Leaving your critical visual aids at home and choosing to simply stand there and talk instead

You wouldn’t rush into a jury presentation, and you shouldn’t rush into a TV campaign either. Take time to carefully craft an effective message built on empathy and believability.

Turn to Network Affiliates for Creative Law Firm Branding Strategies

The team at Network Affiliates knows a thing or two about attorney TV advertising. We produced one of the country’s very first lawyer television commercials, and we’ve kept our fingers on the pulse of lawyer branding ever since – continuing a storied history of putting creative new spins on the tried-and-true fundamentals of law firm branding.

The market has never been more crowded, but it’s also never been more lucrative. Now is the time to harness the power of television and take your firm to a higher level of success – and, we can help you do that!

Call our office and ask how we can impact your results (888) 461-1016 or simply contact us online today.

Current Challenges in the Legal Advertising Space – Part 1

It’s never been easy to become a lawyer. But these days, even if you passed the bar a few decades ago, just being a lawyer is hard.

Why? Competition is a big part of the picture. More law firms are competing for the same number of clients. And more money is going into legal TV advertising than ever before.

In a world where advertising is simultaneously more important and harder to execute, we think it’s crucial to have a solid strategy to achieve better results.

Network Affiliates has been a part of the attorney TV advertising space for as long as it has existed. We’ve stood as a witness to the shifting trends and mounting challenges, and part of our job is helping our clients sail those winds of change.

In life, the best solutions come from an in-depth understanding of the problem. To that end, we’re using our deep industry knowledge to map out the current challenges facing legal advertisers today.

We begin in this article with the internal challenges facing your firm from within your own industry. Later, Part II will look at the external challenges.

We want you to understand these challenges so that, in turn, you’ll understand how we can help you overcome them. Our goals for your firm are simple:

  • More clients
  • Increased referrals
  • Better cases
  • Increased ROI
  • A reputation as the local leader in your field

Our marketing strategies for law firms are, frankly, very effective at making these goals reality. They work for our clients, and they’ll work for you. But here’s what you’re up against.

Your Competitors Are Probably Outspending You.

Between 2014 and 2015, overall television spending grew from $69.2 billion to $71.1 billion. Forecasters expect that number to hit $81 billion by 2019. That’s less than two years away!

Do you know which industry is driving the biggest portion of that growth? You guessed it! Legal services.

Attorney TV advertising grew six times faster than all other ad spending from 2008 to 2014. And in 2015, it claimed the sixth spot on the Top 20 Broadcast Advertisers chart.

If you do much channel surfing in your all-too-scarce free time, you’ve probably noticed this uptick yourself. Attorney commercials are everywhere. There’s a reason for that: they are mightily effective.

This means you have a real challenge in front of you: your competitors are making significant investments in TV advertising. So how can you outdo them? How do you stand out from the pack?

National Players Are Entering Your Market.

Once upon a time, your biggest competitors were in an office two blocks away. Jurisdictional boundaries meant that law was a local game. But that’s changing.

Huge multistate law firms are aggressively expanding beyond their home states. They have effectively established themselves as national law firms “for the little guy.” And because they invest immense amounts in advertising, they’re able to quickly build a reputation from many miles away.

In addition, the internet has become a “national player” all its own. Millennials are on the cusp of adulthood, and they are a very web-savvy bunch. The internet is their playground. Free online tutorials and do-it-yourself services like LegalZoom are a big threat to local law firms.

Dentons recently announced an all-new, free-to-use Nextlaw Global Referral Network. It’s the latest blow to localized legal services, as it mechanizes lawyer referrals on a global scale.

All of this means your advertising efforts must set you apart not only from your rival across the street but also from all the other options available to your clients in our globally interconnected world.

Consolidation

Last year, Bloomberg Law reported that law firms are consolidating in record numbers in the United States. If you aren’t one of those firms, then your competitors are only growing bigger.

Venture Capitalist Money

According to Law.com, at least 18 major law firms are either considering or actively engaging in ongoing relationships with deep-pocketed venture capitalists.

It’s called litigation investment, and it’s a booming business. Essentially, non-lawyers are getting together and pouring money into blossoming law firms, recouping part of the profits as a return… just like they would in any other capital venture.

If that sounds unethical to you, you might be onto something. Some legal watchdogs expect ethics boards to crack down on the practice. But they haven’t yet, and there’s no way to know whether (or how) that might happen.

In the meantime, these venture capitalists only add to the mega-firm trend.

Law Firms in Local Wal-Marts

It almost sounds too weird to be true, but believe it or not, law firms are opening inside Wal-Marts around the country. We don’t mean that figuratively. You can actually walk into some of these big-box retailers and find a fully functioning law firm sandwiched between the game arcade and the nail salon.

ABA Journal and FindLaw have both profiled once-small law firms that have partnered with their local Wal-Marts to hang a shingle inside their warehouse walls.

While many lawyers look down on the idea, they also need to take it seriously. Wal-Mart has hampered (if not crushed) many a small business in this country. You can imagine that many of your prospective clients might find the idea of a one-stop shop for legal services appealing, especially in the personal injury field.

A Wal-Mart firm enjoys unparalleled visibility — something you’ll need to rival on television.

Tort Reform

There is remarkable political momentum toward tort reform in the United States. Already, many jurisdictions have made it harder than ever to bring these cases in the first place. Even a successful settlement or verdict comes with a smaller profit margin than ever before.

Indeed, of all the challenges we’ve enumerated in this article, tort reform might have already had the most profound impact on your business (especially if you’re practicing med-mal in a state with a pro-reform political climate).

So How Do You Survive?

It isn’t easy. The legal space is getting more crowded, and the competition is dense. There is good news, though. Television is a proven and reliable answer to the problem.

Law firms that make prudent investments in lawyer TV advertising see measurable results. Many tell us it’s the best decision they ever made. To stand out, though, you need the right mindset and a truly strategic approach. We address that approach in further detail in our latest white paper, A Legal Advertising Survival Guide for PI Attorneys.

Network Affiliates is an industry leader in law firm marketing. We know how to position you against your biggest competitors and produce results. In fact, our agency produced one of the country’s very first legal TV commercials. That’s how long we’ve been in the game!

Put our experience on your side. Call (888) 461-1016 or contact us online today.

Becoming a Legal TV Advertiser: What It Takes to Reach That Level of Success

Many attorneys think getting ahead of their competition can be as simple as running an ad on television. After all, no other medium puts you in such direct and immediate contact with so many potential clients.

We’re here to tell you: there’s nothing “simple” about it.

Just think about the TV ads you’ve seen in your own market. Some of them are great. Most are not. And many are costing attorneys way too much money because they aren’t being produced, packaged, and targeted strategically.

So how do you orchestrate a legal TV advertising campaign that puts your law firm atop all your competitors?

Let’s take a look at real and actionable ways you can get in on the TV game — the right way.

It’s All in Your Head: Why Your Mindset Matters More Than Anything

Television advertising is a commitment and an investment. Decide today that you will take your law firm to the next level. Making that choice, consciously and deliberately, is probably the most important ingredient in the whole recipe.

Because here’s the thing: attorney commercials work. They absolutely work.

Did you know that in 2015, legal advertising ranked #6 in the Top 20 Broadcast Advertisers? That’s an incredible statistic. When you think about every industry, every product, every service, and every advertiser in all of American commerce, law firms are in the top six.

They’re there for a reason, and it isn’t just ego. Television is a powerful, proven engine for law firm growth. In fact, TV advertising for attorneys has grown by 68% in the last eight years alone (even as most other industries’ investment levels stayed flat).

That’s why your mindset matters so much. Your competitors are investing in TV advertising left and right, and they’re getting new clients, better cases, and bigger profits as a result.

It Takes a Little Time: The Attorney TV Advertising Lifecycle

Television’s real power is in the long term and the benefits are too substantial for you to give up on after a few weeks or months. We encourage our television advertising clients to approach this market with the seriousness and patience it deserves.

For instance, imagine a working mother who lives fifteen minutes down the road from your office. She works hard every day, and as a reward, she watches her fair share of TV at night. Every night when she turns on the TV, she sees commercials from multiple law firms. Now, she might not have a lawsuit on her hands today, tomorrow or next week… but she’s exposed to the messaging anyway, and your firm is making an impression. The next time she needs a lawyer; wouldn’t you want your firm to be included in her consideration phase?

Now, envision the tens of thousands of individuals and families in your community that you can also consistently reach through the airwaves. The next time they need a lawyer; wouldn’t you want your firm to be included in their consideration phase?

Once you decide to go after all that TV offers, commit yourself, your firm, your staff, and your budget to at least 16-24 months in support of that decision.

Will It Be the Best Decision You’ve Ever Made?

Most of our legal TV advertising clients will tell you this is the single best investment decision they’ve ever made.

If you approach it earnestly and strategically, there is a reasonable likelihood you will say the very same thing.

While other kinds of marketing can confer many worthwhile benefits, TV advertising remains the clearest available path to measurable law firm growth.

Why Can’t Your Attorney Commercials Be the Most Successful Attorney Commercials?

Ask yourself that question! There’s no good answer, because the truth is your firm can reach that level of success. You just need the right strategy and the right partner to make it happen.

We Are the Pioneers.

At Network Affiliates, we know a thing or two about TV advertising for lawyers because we literally created one of the very first.

When the U.S. Supreme Court allowed law firms to embrace television back in 1977, it was our founder, Norton Frickey, who led the charge. He assembled a team that continues to lead the industry to this very day.

We invite you to learn more about our philosophy on television marketing for law firms, including examples of our work and our Four Golden Rules.

Or, even easier — just give us a call. Ask how we can help. Our expert legal marketing professionals are ready to talk. Dial (888) 461-1016 or contact us online. Let’s grow your business.

How to Identify a Spokesperson for Your Law Firm’s TV Ads

The traits, tone and temperament that will make a great face for your firm

A spokesperson for any legal brand must wear a lot of hats these days. If leveraged correctly, this person will not only represent your law firm on TV, but may also set the tone for your corporate blog, social profile, speaking engagements, interviews and more.

Because communication comes in so many forms—especially with the proliferation of digital content owned by law firms—a spokesperson must not only fit what your legal brand wants to represent, but also be able to handle all the important tasks and deliverables that come along with taking on such a significant role.

Like many lawyers, who are versed in the rules of law but may lack the confidence and skills for uncovering and anointing an advertising spokesperson, you may be wondering what you should be looking for in the first place. There are many factors to consider:

  1. If we don’t have an obvious “talking head,” how do we scout or “interview” for a spokesperson?
  2. Do we have someone who can represent the universality of the firm in a consistent and calm way?
  3. Is the person we’ve identified passionate enough to make a statement and move people emotionally, but serious enough to show we mean business?
  4. Does having a male or female representative matter in our industry, region or type of law?
  5. Should we be looking for someone younger who might better represent the future of our law firm?
  6. If this person can deliver a coherent presentation on technical aspects of law, does it mean he or she can adequately relate to our prospective clients?
  7. Do they know our law firm inside and out, or is that deep knowledge irrelevant if they can connect with our audience?
  8. Do we have someone who can really speak and balance timing, inflection and even subtle humor?
  9. Can our spokesperson act quickly on his or her feet and remain personable, humble and lighthearted even when things go wrong?
  10. Is this person someone that our brother or mother or nephew would believe and find not only engaging but also credible?

OK, that’s a lot of questions. We’ll try to address as many aspects of finding the right spokesperson as we can to fuel your mission to pinpoint the right person in an educated, systematic way.

From single-sided talking head to multifaceted messenger

There’s arguably no segment more tied to the “talking head” spokesperson than TV advertising for lawyers. This traditional tactic worked in the past when the legal space was less crowded and attorneys were first noodling out how to best demonstrate their prowess on the big screen. (Lawyers were only granted the ability to advertise on TV in 1977, after a U.S Supreme court ruled Arizona’s state ban on legal advertising a violation of free speech.) However, today spokespeople are increasingly tasked with using their personalities and public-speaking skills in entirely new ways on TV—and beyond.

For example, instead of sitting in front of a camera for a one-way conversation, where the talking head reeled off the law firm’s extensive history, biggest wins and top-ranking lawyers, modern TV marketing tactics may require a law firm spokesperson to introduce a real-life scenario of an accident victim; play a character role; interview a former client; and consistently set the brand tone on the airwaves (and the internet).

As TV advertising for lawyers has shifted to increasingly more creative strategies in effort to outfox rather than outtalk the competition, spokespeople must be not only great conversationalists, but inspiring, empathetic and engaging communicators.

Finding that ideal representative can be a challenge, often because this spokesperson may no longer be the most obvious person in the law firm—the oldest member, for example, or the hot-shot lawyer who just joined the team, or the astute attorney who can network her way through a room in style. It may the person who can wear the most hats—and make it look easy in all of them.

 

So what traits do modern-day spokespeople have in common?

Let’s explore.

Passion. These are people who are deeply vested in what they do. They are in law for a clear reason and have navigated to your law firm for a specific purpose. They demonstrate passion—a constant, curious drive for self-improvement and knowledge—in everything they do, even outside of the legal profession.

Creativity. Top spokespeople can think out of the box—and do it very quickly on their feet. They are not so rigid in their thinking that they can’t take direction, see the value in expert advice or shift on the fly. Creativity also pairs with compassion, a critical element of connecting with a viewer of advertising. When you are open to seeing beyond a set pathway, lifestyle or stereotype, you may more easily find compassion for others—ultimately, the clients lawyers want to serve.

Humor. While lawyers certainly must tread lightly in this territory, often the best-performing spokespeople are naturally witty and have a knack for using humor only when and where it’s appropriate. Subtle, situational humor can work wonders for putting others at ease, delivering a poignant message, connecting with audiences on a personal level and even disrupting the status quo in a memorable way.

Calm. It is possible to be both passionate and calm. Creative and centered. Humorous yet cool under pressure. It is the people who employ the traits mentioned above when necessary, but ultimately operate from a center of calm that can send a consistent, believable message that will in turn create the kind of client loyalty law firms count on.

 

How about the actual innate or learned skills necessary to become a spokesperson for an entire law firm?

Tone. This could be anything from a deeply resonating and memorable vocal pitch to a friendly, girl-next-door tone that is instantly relatable. Just listen to the radio. It drives home the different voices and talent used for different advertising messages. Decide what your spokesperson is “saying” through his or her tone. What impression does it make? Does it fit your legal brand? Is it credible? Does it make people feel comfortable?

Timing. As the best comedians know, timing is everything. While most people associate timing—such as being able to deliver a punch line appropriately, pausing at the right moment for dramatic effect and using body language to change the tempo of your speech—with a natural ability, that’s not entirely accurate. Effective public speakers practice timing and dial it in over time, as can any spokesperson with the will and drive to make messages more powerful.

Connection. Everyone has had the experience of connecting deeply with something a speaker has said or demonstrated. That’s exactly what you want to do with your audiences in advertising: connect. Connection comes through emotion and empathy. Truly gifted spokespeople have the ability to connect through storytelling (for example, sharing a personal or universal fear or hope); through emotion (for example, feeling or showing sentimentality outwardly); and through empathy for other people (for example, demonstrating something deeper than compassion in carefully chosen words, physical gestures or voice inflection).

Expression. How a spokespeople express themselves goes way beyond words. This is about physical energy, posture, body gestures, vocal range, confidence and so much more. While we think of fully “expressive” people as “filling up a room,” that doesn’t always have to be result. Your spokesperson doesn’t have to be the loudest, boldest or most dramatic person in the room. But the person you choose to represent your law firm must be uniquely expressive—in a way that always leaves an impression.

Need more ideas for turning up your TV and overall marketing advertising? We at Network Affiliates can help you with plenty of tips on pinpointing a spokesperson, plus in-house creative, production and media-planning to handle all your firms  advertising needs. Call  us at (888) 461-1016 for a FREE confidential evaluation of your Law firm’s current marketing.

We are currently helping over 88 clients in 96 markets win the battle for Fresh, New, High Valued cases.

Stand Out: How to Create Unique TV Ads for your Law Firm

7 EXAMPLES OF COMPELLING, NOT CHEESY, LEGAL COMMERCIALS

Every lawyer can play in the TV advertising space and win new business. But you have to be doing something different than the other firm. The originality and authenticity of your campaign is critical to capturing new eyeballs; making prospective clients stop, think and remember your firm; establishing an initial element of trust; encouraging people to share your message; and ultimately possessing people to take action.

This begs the question: How can attorneys distinguish themselves from one another in such a highly competitive space?

  • How can a TV commercial come across as so compelling that viewers simply can’t turn away?
  • How can a legal advertisement’s creative license inspire action in a way that no message has done before?
  • How can the elements that make a legal brand different from the firm next door truly reveal itself on screen?
  • How can attorneys without massive advertising budgets still compete on TV against lawyers with national reputations—and exposure?
  • How clever can law firm television advertising campaigns get and still make the phone ring?

Facts continue to show the enduring value attorneys place on law firm television advertising. TV advertising already constitutes more than $70 billion in annual spend nationwide and is predicted to hit $90 billion in the next three years. Law firm TV advertising makes up a huge chunk of this figure, growing six times faster than all other ad spending between 2008 and 2014. And today legal services sits at the number six spot among the top 20 biggest broadcast advertisers in the U.S.

There are so many best practices that professional video production artists, including our own in-house studio staff, use to help lawyers distinguish themselves in the marketplace.

However the most successful law firm TV advertising campaigns today include these components:

  • Sound, smart and savvy scripting
  • Professional-grade visual and audio production
  • Expert talent execution and editing
  • Video diversification and dissemination
  • Strategic digital placement and social promotion

After being in the business for more than 30 years, our legal marketing experts could tell you some tips and tricks for helping law firms advertise on television and online, but it might make more impact if we employ video itself to tell the story. Here are seven of Network Affiliates’ most effective law firm television advertising spots—and why they work. These include both original commercial creative as well as a few new favorites from our library of pre-produced ads that can be customized for law firms practicing in some of the most common areas of law.

 

OUT OF CONTROL

Why it works: This shocking campaign stands alone in a sea of lackluster legal advertising. “Out of Control” is a series of commercials that attempts to recreate the formidable, frightening feelings accident victims experience in the days, weeks and months following an injury. When the victim mindset takes hold, people typically feel panicked, lost and taken advantage of by everyone—from the careless driver to the bill collector. While the spot undeniably fuels this tension by reminding viewers of how bad it is, there’s immediate payoff for reliving the pain: help. Expert legal counsel can quickly show victims a way out from under water.

 

 

SHATTERED

Why it works: One of our most memorable law firm television advertising spots to date, “Shattered” goes against everything you’ve seen in the legal industry before. Switching the emphasis from touting the accolades of a chest-pounding lawyer to showing the physical reality of a car-accident victim, this production phenomenon actually slows down footage to create the sense of how a life can be shattered in an instant. Props included a stylized, turntable-mounted car cabin, silicone “glass” cannons and two air guns to create a haunting and lasting visual impact.

 

 

NEED TO KNOW

Why it works: This totally out-of-the-box, totally fun and totally informative spot shakes things up in the traditional legal TV advertising community by using a no-nonsense script and bright, quirky graphical cues to keep viewers tuned in. It’s like a favorite tips piece—only in video format. People are intrigued by anything that informs them in a way that makes them feel more in control during what is inevitably a very stressful and confusing time. Simply knowing some steps to follow when dealing with insurance companies gives viewers an immediate sense of confidence—and ideally enough resolve to take the next step to call a lawyer.

 

 

CLAIM NUMBER

Why it works: Underscored by tight art direction and high production value, this spot’s fundamental play is emotion. Humans can quickly identify with a moment when they, too, felt downgraded to a nothing but a “number” by an insurance company whose best interests were in dollar signs. It’s happened to the best of us, and it leaves us every one of us feeling powerless. In this quintessential moment of weakness and vulnerability, having a trusted attorney to turn to restores a sense of power over the situation. “Claim Number” is a poignant, engaging ad designed to connect with clients after a life-changing event.

 

 

STORYTELLER

Why it works: This pre-produced segment is simply a modern interpretation of the old-fashioned testimonial spot. But instead of a generic talking head, we get a real-life story, a universal sports scenario that people of all ages and backgrounds can relate to and find meaning in. This encapsulated 30-second ad demonstrates how video is a powerful mechanism for putting the viewer in the victim’s shoes. These dramatic, testimonial-style scripts are simple to produce and can be customized for any law firm looking to capture and engage viewers in an entirely fresh and responsive way.

 

TURN TO DUST

Why it works: Goose bumps. Any commercial creative that gives you goose bumps has generated a strong physiological reaction that will no doubt leave a lasting impression. This is one of those legal spots that you literally feel. And after it washes over you, you’re left feeling like you need to take action—reach out to a loved one, protect yourself or call a legal expert who can take over. This completely original message is visceral and serious. It’s incredibly effective for those reasons and the fact that there’s simply nothing like it on TV. Perfectly juxtaposed against our graphic “Need to Know” spot, “Turn to Dust” demonstrates the vast range of creative approaches that can work to tell your firm’s story and connect with an audience through different emotional triggers.

 

 

JUST ANOTHER DAY

Why it works: This fast-paced dramatic reenactment is immediately engaging and entertaining because it’s relatable: Unexpected things happen to people just like you and me every day. This unforgettable commercial is especially effective because it draws viewers in, hooks them and then builds to an emotional crescendo. It’s this creation of suspense that drives home the ultimate message: We’re all just one moment away from an accident. The authenticity created by filming people doing real-life things helps prospective clients connect to the spot. But the real magic happens when viewers are left breathless by the tragic ending to “just another day.” They’re compelled to think twice about whether they have the right legal representation ready—if and when they need it.

 

 

Want to separate your law firm’s message from the competition? It starts with compelling, one-of-a-kind creative. The production artists at Network Affiliates’ in-house video studio are highly skilled and highly creative thinkers. See how great creative can help you grow your market share today. Call (888) 461-1016.